Taking vitamin E supplements does not increase or decrease heart failure risk among women, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.
The study is the first to investigate the effectiveness of vitamin E to prevent the development of heart failure. Researchers studied nearly 40,000 women in the Women's Health Study who took 600 International Units of vitamin E or placebo every other day. The women were age 45 or older and healthy at the study's start. Researchers followed them for an average 10.2 years to determine if taking the supplement affected heart failure risk. Investigators recorded 220 heart failure cases.
Overall, researchers found no impact from vitamin E supplementation.
They did, however, observe a 41 percent decrease in the risk of developing a type of heart failure in which the heart retains its normal pumping function. This sub finding is only an observation and topic for future research, said Claudia U. Chae, M.D., M.P.H, lead researcher in the cardiology division at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
They conclude: vitamin E does not prevent heart failure. Prevention strategies should instead focus on what has been shown in research to reduce heart failure risk, such as controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
More than six million American adults suffer from heart failure, a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's blood and oxygen needs.